Sod Turned On Stronger Te Awa Kairangi Flood Defences

Published: Wed 21 Feb 2024 01:54 PM
Ground has been broken on major upgrades to Lower Hutt’s flood defences at a ceremonial sod turning for Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi - Delivering RiverLink.
Infrastructure minister and Lower Hutt MP Chris Bishop was among dignitaries cutting the first turf on a stopbank being raised between Melling Link and Mills Street, one of several due to be strengthened for Te Awa Kairangi programme.
“When complete, our upgraded stopbanks will defend New Zealand’s most densely populated flood plain and enhance the health of the river,” says Greater Wellington chair Daran Ponter.
“It’s appropriate the upgrades begin on the stretch river most vulnerable to flooding. While design, scope and costs for the wider programme are worked through, it’s a relief knowing the strengthening of Lower Hutt’s flood defences will soon be underway.”
Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says the upgraded stopbanks will protect lives and infrastructure.
“Recent floods across New Zealand had devastating consequences for local communities. When upgraded, these stopbanks will provide more protection for our CBD and the wider valley floor,” Mayor Barry says.
Aims of Te Wai Takamori o Te Awa Kairangi include:Stronger flood defences that enhance river health,A safer, more reliable and more accessible transport system through the creation of a new Melling interchange and a public transport hub,Support for urban renewal and growth opportunities.
Chair of the Mana Whenua Steering Group, and representing Te Āti Awa Taranaki Whānui, Lee Hunter says, "This is where Maraenuku Pā had once existed, here on the bank of Te Awa Kairangi, within close proximity of Mills Street.
"It’s important that as we commence this work, we recognise the history of this area and the significance of Te Awa Kairangi / Hutt River. It’s a taonga and treasured ancestral river, central to the life of Māori and the people of the Hutt Valley.
“It’s important for us all to protect and maintain the mana and mōuri (life force) of the river.”
A construction site on Mills Street will be set up in late February before the design for the stopbank is finalised in late March. Construction is expected to be completed in early October 2024.
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